Australian Open

Australian Open announces 15-day tournament in a bid to ‘minimise late finishes’

The Australian Open have revealed that the 2024 tournament will be extended to 15 days for the first time in history, following backlash after Andy Murray finished as late as 4am earlier this year.

Murray began his second round match against Thanasi Kokkinakis in Melbourne at 10:20pm, and played his longest ever match before finishing at 4:05am.

The three-time Grand Slam champion went onto label the situation as a ‘farce’ and revealed that he only had three hours sleep before being knocked out in the third round.

Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley has released a statement upon this news, claiming that the tournament had listened to feedback.

“We’ve listened to feedback from the players and fans and are excited to deliver a solution to minimise late finishes while continuing to provide a fair and equitable schedule on the stadium courts,” said Tiley.

He continued, “The additional day will achieve this, benefiting scheduling for fans and players alike. The first round will now be played over three days instead of two, also giving fans an extra day of unbelievable tennis, entertainment, food and family fun.

“Every year our team works hard to bring fans an event that feels new and exciting, and this is another opportunity to grow what is already the biggest annual sporting event in the world in January.”

This will increase the number of sessions on Rod Laver Arena, Margaret Court Arena and John Cain Arena from 47 to 52, with night sessions continuing to have at least two matches.

The Australian Open are the second major tournament to implement a Sunday start, with Roland Garros first taking this initiative, and will kick-off the Grand Slam year in 2024 on Sunday 14th January.

Inside the baseline…

Despite Murray’s match with Kokkinakis being a thriller, it was clear that the match should not have been allowed to be played as late as it was. Therefore, it is nice to see a tennis tournament taking such initiative and listening to feedback from previous mishaps, especially when poor scheduling has been such a topic of conversation in recent months.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.